Fri | Sep 22, 2017

We take the PM's word for all Jamaicans, says US official amid rainbow flag firestorm

Published:Tuesday | June 14, 2016 | 6:35 PM
Polacheck: Your prime minister is the highest government official and so we have taken his words as the word for all Jamaica.

The United States Embassy in Kingston says it is satisfied about the commitment of the Government to human rights amid the controversy over a tweet by the attorney general Marlene Malahoo Forte.

The attorney general triggered a social media firestorm last night after posting that she found it disrespectful of Jamaican laws that the US embassy had erected a rainbow flag following Sunday’s deadly shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub.

"I strongly condemn the #OrlandoNightClubShooting but I find it disrespectful of Jamaican laws to have #RainbowFlag flown here. #MyPersonalView," Malahoo Forte posted.

This afternoon, however, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Kingston, Joshua Polacheck  said the content of a letter from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to US Ambassador Luis Moreno shows that for the most part, Jamaica understands that the attack as against humanity, irrespective of sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

"Your prime minister is the highest government official and so we have taken his words as the word for all Jamaica. We are mourning an attack on victims, who are firstly Americans; they were targeted for being LGBT," Polacheck said.


IN PHOTO: Prime Minister Andrew Holness

This morning, the US Embassy asked the attorney general to explain her legal reasoning behind her claim that it was disrespectful of Jamaican laws to have a rainbow flag flown here

The rainbow flag is the symbol of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community.


IN PHOTO: Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte

Amid the social media firestorm, Prime Minister Holness joined the social media commentary expressing condolences to the people of the United States of America.

“The bullet of terrorism does not discriminate; it does not know gender, class or sexual orientation. We all grieve the 49 lives lost,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

However Mr Holness made no direct reference to Malahoo Forte’s tweet about the rainbow flag.

Forty-nine people were shot dead in the Orlando attack early Sunday morning by a man who the police later shot and killed.